Israeli rights group: destroying Palestinian homes illegal

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Published Thursday, May 10, 2012

A leading Israeli human rights group has written to the country's Attorney General to urge him to abandon plans to destroy the houses of two Palestinians who killed five Israelis.

The B'Tselem letter said it was wrong to punish the families of Amjad and Hakim Awad, convicted of murdering five members of the Fogel family in 2011, for actions they did not commit.

The Israeli Security Agency had urged the houses to be demolished, punishing the family for the actions of the brothers.

B'Tselem stressed that such a decision would be both illegal and immoral.

"Nothing about that attack, however, makes harming their relatives, who were never found guilty of involvement of any kind, legal or moral," a statement from the group's Executive Director Jessica Montell said.

"The murderers were sentenced to long prison terms. If it is found that family members were involved in obstruction of justice or destruction of evidence, as the ISA claims, then they should be tried in accordance with due process," she added.

Israel had long sanctioned the destruction of houses of Palestinians convicted of crimes, a practice condemned by international rights groups.

The Jewish state abandoned the practice in 2005, but is now considering reinstating it.

"While the policy was in force, hundreds of homes in the occupied territories were demolished and thousands of Palestinians were left without shelter," B'Tselem said.

Israel continues to abuse international law and there are currently over 300 Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails without charge.



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